Some great gender resources this week! A review by Gavrilovic et al offers a range of concrete entry points for transitioning from “gender-sensitive” social protection to addressing structural barriers to gender equality. In what way? The report’s analysis identifies five main channels, including at the level of individuals (e.g., via e-payments and financial literacy trainings, p.19), households (e.g., soft conditionalities and joint discussions, p.24), communities (e.g., job quotas and equal wages in public works, p.28), organizations (e.g., via gender analysis and staff trainings, p.31), and macro environments (e.g., public debates and awareness-raising campaigns, p.34). I also enjoyed some of the novel showcased examples, like Uganda’s facilitated intra-household transfer of sugar cane contracts (husbands were encouraged, after a specific training, to register their wives as owners of the contracts, p.23), or Mauritania’s cash-plus experience with enhancing fathers’ involvement in parenting (p.31). And handy table 1, p.39-40, brings it all together!

That’s not all on the theme: Pereznieto and Holmes tackle gender-transformative social protection in crisis contexts. Their guidance note lays out a sweeping tour of juicy tips and examples (12 boxes with accompanying selected readings… see for instance the case of the three ‘Oases’ safe spaces for Syrian women in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp, p.14), compounded by a crisp checklist comparing stable vs humanitarian situations (p.29-30).

Now… before being transformative, social protection needs to be convincingly embraced: so what can explain wide variations in social protection adoption and implementation in Africa? Seekings et al have a journal special issue investigating the question. In their overview, they stress that delivery capabilities aren’t a major driver of such diversity, and that “[v]ariation in beliefs about what the state should do appear more significant than variation in what the state can do”. This critical factor sheds light on differences between, for example, approaches in Ghana versus the more conservative case of Botswana (as penned by Seekings). Among the other articles forming the compilation, there is a succinct literature review on social protection and state-citizen relations by Ulriksen and Plagerson; Morse’s discussion on organized labor and pension reform in Ghana and Malawi; and the gendered politics of social protection provisioning in Zambia by Pruce. (Note: there are additional special issue articles, like by Ibrahim and a few others, that were reviewed in past links editions).

Still on diversity… but from an institutional perspective: Andreotti et al contrast the experience of two Italian regions, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy, in implementing the Italian guaranteed minimum income program (Reddito di Cittadinanza). By examining the role of the so-called “navigators” (a new professional group introduced to implement the RdC), the article highlights how different institutional arrangements can affect discretion and variability of practices among practitioners. For instance, Emilia’s regional authority maintained a strong steering role in RdC step-by-step implementation, while in Lombardy provinces define procedures and delineate potential forms of discretion.

Since I mentioned implementers, qualitative analysis by England reveals that despite Wales’ legislative changes to policies on homelessness, “punitive conditionality” is perceived as largely ineffective by frontline administrators. Bonus on welfare “sanctions” in the United States: Walsh et al have a review of 29 studies (see table 1, p.32) showing that “recipients who are not white are more likely to be sanctioned, and that the severity and effects of those sanctions are more severe”.

Let’s stay in the US: with some distance from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a short article by Baicker reflects on what was learned from the American response. Part of a larger collection of health-related articles on the theme, her piece points out the key role played by unemployment insurance, and the need to develop more effectively automatic triggers. BTW, check out the article by Cutler for an overview of health-specific lessons.

Speaking of the pandemic, Indonesia’s 2020 stimulus bill included sweeping revisions to 79 laws in key sectors, including labor and taxation. Building on such experience, Carter and Tsuruga sketch out key requirements for Indonesia to establish an unemployment insurance system (this would be managed by two main institutions, namely the Ministry of Manpower and BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, which is currently responsible for social insurance schemes for injuries, life, old-age, and pension benefits).

News on delivery matters? An analysis by Domingo et al appraises the interoperability of digital payments between banking and mobile money operators in East Africa. Main conclusion? While progress has been made (see summary status on figure 1, p.10), “… the levels of interoperability and financial inclusion… are far behind the desired outcomes”.

On the move! Romer et al present a new stocktaking of social protection and immigrant social rights: the review of higher and lower income countries show that the rights of recognized refugees and permanent workers are relatively established, while temporary migrant workers and asylum seekers are granted the least comprehensive set of rights (see figure 3 for some nice visuals).

Final fireworks! The first monthly digest of is out; the implementation strategy of the Global Accelerator is now available; and the ILO has an event on public employment services (Oct 23) while SASPEN reflects on a decade of social protection engagements

Social Protection Programmes: 
  • Social assistance
    • Social transfers
      • Cash transfers
  • Labour market / employment programmes
    • Passive labour market policies
      • Unemployment benefits
Social Protection Building Blocks: 
  • Programme design
    • Conditionalities
  • Programme implementation
    • Benefits payment / delivery
Social Protection Approaches: 
  • Gender-sensitive social protection
Cross-Cutting Areas: 
  • Gender
  • Inequalities
  • Migration
  • Global
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